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Unsung Founders Memorial topic of webinar series

The University Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward will host two webinars in October.

A monument of people holding a large table top.
The Unsung Founders Memorial onMcCorkle Place on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to say that the first webinar will now be held on Oct. 18. 

The Carolina community is invited to attend a webinar series about the Unsung Founders Memorial this month.

The University Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward is hosting the series Unsung Founders Memorial: Past and Present.

The first webinar will be held Oct. 18. Panelists will discuss the original motivation for the memorial and explore community feedback from the time the memorial was conceptualized to its dedication.

For the second webinar, participants will engage in conversations about what is next for the memorial.

“This webinar series is, I think, a long-overdue conversation about the importance of the memorial to this campus and the space it opens up for thinking about reckoning with history and race on our campus,” said Pat Parker, the Ruel W. Tyson Distinguished Professor of Humanities, director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and co-chair of the History, Race and a Way Forward Commission.

The memorial was created by artist Do Ho Suh and was a gift to the University from the Class of 2002. The University dedicated it in 2005 to honor the countless enslaved and free African Americans who contributed their labor and service to the campus.

Parker and Dawna Jones will moderate the webinar. Jones is a former assistant dean of students and Carolina Black Caucus chair who is now the director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University.

The webinars will feature Class of 2002 leadership, community members, former Carolina administrators, Carolina employees and a message from Suh.

Parker said it is important that the discussions acknowledge the Class of 2002 for making the gift and said the students then were likely tapping into conversations they were having with their peers on campus.

“They raised an important question. ‘How should we honor and memorialize the unsung founders of this campus, particularly the enslaved people who helped to build this campus?’” Parker said.

To participate, register at go.unc.edu/unsungfoundersmemorial